2009 IRL Team Reports: Target/Chip Ganassi Racing

IRL Team reports for the 2009 IRL season

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2009 IRL Team Reports: Target/Chip Ganassi Racing

Postby mlittle » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:04 am

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

One for the History Books: When the green flag drops at St. Petersburg, Scott Dixon, the reigning IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 Champion and Dario Franchitti, the 2007 IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 Champion will make racing history. Chip Ganassi Racing will be the first organization in major auto racing history to team drivers who have won both its sanctioning body's Driver Championship (IndyCar Series) and its marquee event (Indianapolis 500) the previous two seasons. Dating back to the first American Automobile Association-sanctioned Indianapolis 500 in 1911, the FIA-sanctioned Monaco Grand Prix in 1950 and the NASCAR-sanctioned Daytona 500 in 1959, no team has ever paired the previous two winners of the sport's Driver Championship, and it's respective Crown Jewel event, together on the same team.

Rewind: Target Chip Ganassi Racing put together a dominating 2008 season, winning eight of 17 races with drivers Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon. Dixon won six times to earn the team's second series championship (and sixth open wheel title overall). Target drivers led 1,063 of 2,860 laps and recorded 24 top-five finishes last season. The team also won six poles.

Defending Champ: Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will be among the leading candidates to win the 2009 IndyCar title. If he can do so, he would be only the second driver to win consecutive championships. Dixon won a record-tying six races in 2008. He will attempt to maintain the dominance he has held over the IndyCar Series field since the middle of 2007.

What it Takes to Repeat: "The only way that you can try and do better than last year is to try and repeat. To try and repeat 2008 is going to be very tough. It was definitely a stellar season for myself and the team. I think we have a fantastic lineup if you just look at it as we've got the last two (Indianapolis) 500 champions, last two series champions. We definitely are going to have the target on our backs. It's going to be a hard season, with a lot of the new people as such from last year, have had a lot of time in the cars now, and the teams have been able to prepare the cars maybe a little bit better, the competition level is going to be a lot tougher."

Hot Streak: Dixon and the No. 9 team have increased their win total by two each of the past three seasons, winning six times last year. The New Zealander has 10 wins and 22 podium finishes in his last 34 races over two seasons.

Just in time for St. Pete: Chip Ganassi Racing has a new website that launched prior to this weekend's race. Get everything you need to know about Dixon, Franchitti, Target and more at www.chipganassiracing.com.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 AIR WICK® Team

AIR WICK® to Sponsor No. 10 Car of Dario Franchitti at Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that AIR WICK® will serve as the primary sponsor of its No.10 Honda Dallara for 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti at the IndyCar Series season opener.

Dario by the Numbers: After transitioning to the team's NASCAR program in 2008, Franchitti returns to open wheel racing in 2009. Franchitti posted four wins, four pole positions in 2007 en route to his first IndyCar Series championship. 2009 will be his first IndyCar season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. He has over 180 starts under his belt between the CART and IndyCar Series resulting in 18 wins, 17 poles, 95 top-10 finishes (1997-2007). He is the winningest driver in U.S. open-wheel history from Great Britain.

Franchitti Dressed to Kilt: Dressed To Kilt -- the seventh annual exercise in Scottish pride that involves men in skirts and plaid-clad women -- returned to Manhattan's M2 Lounge on Monday, raising money to benefit the Wounded Warriors program and the Paralyzed Veterans of America through a nonprofit group called Friends of Scotland. The event was hosted by Sir Sean Connery and Lady Connery and celebrated "Homecoming Scotland 2009" -- a year-long celebration of all things Scottish. Among the attendees were Sir Sean Connery, "American Idol's" Kellie Pickler, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti, former MLB player Bernie Williams, actor Mike Myers and actress Andie MacDowell.

Dario Visits ESPN HQ: Dario visited the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn., Tuesday and appeared on various ESPN platforms throughout the week. Franchitti was on First Take on ESPN2, a live chat on ESPN.com and live segments on ESPNEWS and ESPN2's NASCAR Now.

Dario Visits Jay Leno's 'Big Dog' Garage: Last week the jovial host of "The Tonight Show" played host to 2007 IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, who was visiting Southern California to promote the 35th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. With about 17,000 square feet of display and restoration space, Leno's collection spans 100 years of automotive history.

Thoughts on St. Petersburg: "Driving the AIR WICK car to start the IndyCar Series season couldn't be more fitting for me...their tagline 'It's good to be home' pretty much sums up my thoughts on this race to start the year after racing in NASCAR in 2008. I've said many times that part of the IndyCar Series' allure is in the diversity of its tracks, and I'm a huge fan of the street circuits. What a great way to continue my Indy car career with AIR WICK® on board on the streets of St. Petersburg. "I've also put in a special request for the AIR WICK® FRESHMATIC® Ultra for our team transporters for the rest of the season. Believe me, with over 30 guys working in and out of these trucks every weekend, the automatic spray's time-released fragrance will be a much welcomed addition for everyone."
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Postby mlittle » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:15 am

Results from St. Petersburg
1. Ryan Briscoe, No.6 Honda Dallara
2. Ryan Hunter-Reay, No.21 Honda Dallara
3. Justin Wilson, No.19 Honda Dallara
4. Dario Franchitti, No.10 AIR WICK(r) Honda Dallara
16. Scott Dixon, No.9 Target Honda Dallara

Franchitti Fourth, Dixon 16th in IndyCar Series Season Opener

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April. 5, 2009)-Dario Franchitti finished fourth in his first IndyCar Series points race since winning the series championship in 2007, while Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon finished 16th after contact on lap 80 of the 100-lap Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Franchitti started fifth, and made a bold dive to the inside in the opening lap, passing his way up to second place in the No.10 AIR WICK(r) car. Dixon on the other hand had to deal with the accordion effect of cars from his eighth starting position, but came out of the fray in
sixth.

Franchitti continued his steady drive over the course of the race to finish fourth- his fifth consecutive top-10 finish in the IndyCar Series dating back to Kentucky in 2007.

Dixon's day was not as smooth after the No.3 car overshot his pit box on lap 36 and impeded the No.9 car's progress. Dixon lost all track position, dropped back outside the top-15 and was forced to an alternate strategy. His day ended after contact with the turn 3 wall on lap 80 after getting together with the No.27 car.

Up next for the Target team is Round 2 of the IndyCar Series at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. on Sunday, April 19th (3:30 p.m. EDT, Versus).

TCGR Quoteboard:

Dario Franchitti: "The Air Wick car was pretty quick, especially at the end. But we lost track position. Some of the other guys maybe caught a lucky break there and jumped us in the pits. But all through the day we made it a little better. The one thing it wasn't doing well was using tires. You could see that at the start when Justin (Wilson) and I were fighting and Justin was able to pull away further and further. That last stint was good for us because we had a chance to cool them down again. We've got a little bit of work to do but it was definitely a good start."

Scott Dixon: "The Target car was really quick at the start. I think we had a lot of close calls diving in for the first turn - maybe even a little contact from behind. I was obviously upset out the Penske car coming into our pit box, which pretty much took away all our track position at that point. As a result, we had to go off sequence and change strategies. The only problem was that a lot of other cars were doing that as well. That, and when you're that far back you just tend to get held up by slower cars and can't pass. I just lost the suspension at the end after the contact with Mutoh. I thought I was alongside him for the pass but we got together and in the next turn I caught the wall."
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Postby mlittle » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:12 pm

Target/Ganassi Racing
Long Beach Preview


Rich History: TCGR has a long history of success at Long Beach as they raced there every year between 1990-2002 (13 seasons) in the former CART Series. The last time TCGR ran the GPLB was in 2002 when Kenny Brack (finished 4th) and Bruno Junqueira (finished 17th) raced for the team. TCGR won the race four times in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. Jimmy Vasser won in 1996, Alex Zanardi in 1997 & 1998 and current Target NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya won it in 1999. Coincidentally, every time a TCGR driver has won the GPLB that driver has gone on to win the championship.

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team
Former Long Beach Winner: Dixon won the 2000 Indy Lights race at Long Beach. He had a best finish of 18th in two CART starts (2001, 2002) at the track, with a best start of 18th in 2002.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team
Target Car: Dario will be back in a Target car this weekend sporting the traditional red and white paint scheme. This is the first time he will be in the Target paint scheme since Surfers Paradise in 2008, when he set fastest lap of the race in his return to Indy cars in Australia.

It's Good to be back: "I can't tell you how nice it was to be back in the IndyCar Series, though. I got a lot of 'Glad you're back, Dario' comments throughout the paddock and from the fans. It was nice to be back for that reason as well but I think to see the difference in the unified series, both on the track and off, from the fans to the teams to the on track product, I was very impressed with it."

What a start at St. Pete: (starting fifth and coming out of turn 1 second) "That was the most fun thing I've done in a racecar in some time! I got the idea to take the inside line from you brother Marino -- he blew by the lot of them in the first corner in 2007 ALMS race by going down the inside. I had my eyes closed at the time, and when I opened them, he showed up in P1 from way back! And I thought to myself, 'Wow...I've got to tuck that one away and use it myself'. In the morning I had gone out to practice with cold tires and said, 'Okay, where do I have to brake here on the inside line?' So I knew exactly what my point was where I had to brake in order to make the corner. Pulling up to the start I got a good, really good run on Tony Kanaan and I was drafting him. By the time I got to the start-finish I was contemplating pulling out. So I start pulling out on Tony and I think for whatever reason he was coming across, he moved over quite a lot; there was definitely something on his outside. At that point Graham [Rahal] braked when I was alongside of Tony and I was looking over and I could see the brake marker boards on the outside and I wasn't anywhere near the point I knew I had to brake yet, so I just waited...and waited...and waited...I was already alongside Graham and Graham saw me there and gave me room. It worked perfectly -- I didn't lock a brake and pulled the pass off just as I'd hoped. I touched the inside curb but that was about it. It was all fairly sort of calm and relaxed. But I heard TK describe it as a dive bomb, which wasn't really true. There was no desperation there; it was planned and worked perfectly."

Dario at Long Beach: Franchitti competed in six CART races at Long Beach (1997-2002). He had a best finish of second in 1998 and 1999, with a best start of second in 1999.

New Website: Dario relaunched his newly designed website earlier in the week at www.franchitti.com. Fans of the 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and the IndyCar Series champion can follow the 2009 racing campaign with the latest on-track news, his insightful race-by-race previews, up to date driver championship standings and all the latest driver and sponsor news from the IndyCar Series. Visitors will also be able to download desktop wallpapers and purchase official Dario Franchitti & TCGR merchandise. The site was designed by Denver based eightbysix ( www.eightbysix.com ), which focuses on creative website solutions for brands while providing long term strategies for an enhanced online presence.
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Postby mlittle » Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:18 am

~~~One For History
(quoting both TCGR and Indycar.com)


LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours At Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. Adding a victory in the 35th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach had special significance to Dario Franchitti, a student of motorsports history.

Franchitti, who started second in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, held off pole sitter Will Power by 3.3182 seconds in the 85-lap race on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. It was Franchitti's first road/street victory in the IndyCar Series and his ninth overall.

"I got lots of Champ Car street and road course wins, but I haven't had one in the IndyCar Series so to finally get one feels good for all kinds of reasons," said Franchitti, who gave TCGR its 25th victory in the series, his wife a special birthday present and one to himself (takes over the championship points race).

"After everything we went through last year (in a truncated NASCAR program) and then Chip (Ganassi) coming up and saying, 'Hey, do you want to drive my Indy car?' And now we're back here winning together. Having finished second to his cars here twice I said to him last night, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em' and here we are. Thanks to my crew and the whole Target team."

Franchitti was the beneficiary of two full-course cautions just after he made pit stops on Laps 16 and 53.While nine cars had to pit under caution on Lap 55, Franchitti inherited the lead and retained it for the remaining laps. There were six lead changes among six drivers.

"That last restart [Lap 78] we were able to get on it again, pull away," he said. "The pace was great all day from the car. It allowed me to drive exactly as I wanted to. It really feels good to win here back in IndyCar Series in the unified series in front of a great crowd that was loving the race and loving the whole weekend. To race in this series -- and the competition level has gone up even since 2007 -- it felt good. Great to finally win here in Long Beach."

Andretti Green Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Danica Patrick followed, with teammate Marco Andretti placing sixth. Dan Wheldon, driving the No. 4 National Guard Panther car, was fifth. Kanaan posted his 11th consecutive top-10 finish, the longest active streak in the IndyCar Series, in his 100th start.

Patrick, who a year earlier became the first female to win a closed-course auto race, made the biggest move in the race - from 22nd. Her No. 7 Motorola crew, with Michael Andretti as her race strategist, followed similar pit strategy (and fortune) as Franchitti (Laps 16 and 51).

"It was a much better result, obviously, for us and I'm real proud of how we all kept our heads down and made a result out of it instead of getting down," she said in reference to her qualifying effort. "The Motorola guys did a great job and got me out quickly."

Power, whose weekend included switching to a different car for qualifying after the return of Helio Castroneves to the series, recorded his best IndyCar Series finish.

"We had no radio and no telemetry, so I was doing it off the steering wheel and off the pit board," said Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Wireless car for Penske Racing. "I'm very happy; second is very good. I feel happy for all the guys. They put a lot of effort in. I really want to thank Roger Penske and Tim Cindric for bringing this car here for me. They've given me a fantastic ride and I can't thank them enough."

Castroneves, who had two 30-minute sessions of practice and two rounds of qualifying under his belt before taking the green flag, finished seventh in his season debut in the No. 3 car. Rookie Raphael Matos, who started third in the No. 2 US Air Force Luczo Dragon Racing car, led his first laps and finished eighth.

Robert Doornbox, in his second race with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, improved six positions to ninth. Alex Tagliani, driving the No. 34 Conquest Racing car, tracked down Ryan Hunter-Reay's No. 21 Vision Racing car on the final lap to finish 10th. Ryan Briscoe, who won the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, finished 13th.
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Postby mlittle » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:19 am

Franchitti Wins Long Beach, Takes IndyCar Points Lead to Kansas

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 20, 2009)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti led twice for 51 laps and benefitted from two well-timed pit stops to win the 85-lap Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The victory was the ninth of Franchitti's IRL career and the 25th for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series. Teammate Scott Dixon was taken out of contention while running sixth on lap 75 when he was hit from behind under a caution period.

Franchitti started second but lost two spots in the first turn on the 1.968-mile street course. He moved back up to second on Lap 15 before pitting on Lap 16. The stop for tires and fuel proved to be fortuitous with a full-course caution two laps later. As the rest of the field cycled through pit stops, Franchitti took the lead on Lap 32.

Franchitti benefited from a similar scenario later in the race, pitting under green conditions on Lap 53, one lap before another full-course caution. From that point, Franchitti led the final 29 laps, opening up a lead of several seconds over pole sitter Will Power.

Dixon started sixth and moved up a spot on the opening lap to fifth. On lap 17 he had contact in turn 6 and continued with slight suspension damage. At the halfway mark he was solidly in sixth, but with 10 laps to go was hit from behind by the No.6 car and would finish one lap down in 15th.

With the result, Franchitti takes over the IndyCar Series point lead with 84 markers, 16 over Power (69), while Dixon stands 17th with 29 points.

Up next for the Target team is Round 3 of the IndyCar Series at the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, April 26th (4:30 p.m. EDT, Versus), where the No.10 car is the defending racewinner.

Notes:

- Fastest Leading Lap: No.10 Franchitti (Lap 70, 98.557 mph, 1:11.8852 sec.)

- The win marked the 104th for Chip Ganassi as a team owner, and 65th in open wheel racing

- This is TCGR's fifth win at Long Beach (Vasser-'96, Zanardi-'97,'98, and Montoya-'99)

- Franchitti records his ninth career victory in the IndyCar Series. His most recent victory was in the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway when he clinched the series championship

- This is Franchitti's first IndyCar Series victory on a road/street course

TCGR Quoteboard:

Dario Franchitti: "I have lots of Champ Car street and road course wins, but I haven't had one in the IndyCar Series, so to finally get one feels good for all kinds of reasons. After everything we went through last year and then Chip (Ganassi) coming up and saying, 'Hey, do you want to drive my Indy car?' And now we're back here winning together. Having finished second to his cars here twice I said to him last night, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em,' and here we are. Thanks to my crew and the whole Target team. It's good to be back and see full grandstands and see a buzz at the track. Great day."

Scott Dixon: "It was just a bad day. I love the road courses but we've just had a rough time. It's just fantastic that Dario had a great finish for the team. We're looking forward to Kansas (next Sunday)."
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Postby mlittle » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:24 am

Dixon Makes it Two in a Row for Team Target with Win at Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (April 27, 2009)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon beat Helio Castroneves to the line by 0.7104 of a second at Kansas Speedway, vaulting him from 17th to fourth in the IndyCar Series point standings. Target teammate Dario Franchitti could only complete 151 of the 200 laps after an incident left him in the outside wall, dropping him out of the points lead to third in the chase for the championship.

Dixon entered the race 17th in points after two difficult races on street circuits to begin the season. The return to a 1.5-mile oval suited him well. After starting fourth, Dixon passed pole sitter Graham Rahal on lap 8 and went on to lead 134 of 200 laps for his 17th career IndyCar Series victory. The win was the third in a row at the track by a Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver.

Franchitti on the other hand was not as fortunate, having to claw his way to the front after starting 21st on the grid. It didn't take long for the Scot to make his way forward, as he was shown in the top-10 by just lap 15. But getting onto pit lane on lap 151 proved to be an issue as he had to avoid the No.02 car who stopped abruptly in front him. Franchitti avoided contact with the No.02, but slid away with two blown tires which resulted in contact with the outside wall, ending his day.

With the win, Dixon moves to fourth in IndyCar points with 81 points (-19 to leader Kanaan), while Franchitti stands third with 96 points.

TCGR Quoteboard:

Scott Dixon: "I think we were expecting the race to be a lot more difficult as far as the wind conditions in Turn 3 and 4 and maybe more cautions. The Target team was definitely talking about a lot of cautions and making sure we were saving fuel. All-in-all for me it was a pretty smooth race. We had a great car. We jumped straight to second then about ten laps later, we got Graham (Rahal) when he slid up the track a bit in Turn 3 and 4. We got out front and started saving fuel. The Target car was really good all day. We had a bit of a fumble in the pits, which dropped us back to third at one point and made it quite difficult to get past (Ryan) Briscoe. I think we were trimmed to win as they say. The car was maybe not as good as it should have been in traffic. Luckily enough, we were saving enough fuel and caught the caution that catapulted us to the front."

Dario Franchitti: "Graham (Rahal) just stopped in front of me coming into the pits. That's one of the places you can make up time, coming in and out (of the pits) and he just braked hard and we were just sort of feathering the brake. I got on the brakes hard when I saw him just stop, and flat spotted both fronts, punctured them and had no steering or front grip after that. It caught me by surprise how early he broke. We were running sixth gear there and he was hard on the brakes."
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Postby mlittle » Thu May 07, 2009 11:39 am

SAM SCHMIDT TEAM KICKS OFF BUSY MONTH WITH INDY 500 PRACTICE

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sam Schmidt Motorsports arrived in full force on Tuesday with five race cars carrying the team name around the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In the afternoon, Alex Lloyd made his return to Sam Schmidt Motorsports driving in the Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation/refresher program.

Alex Lloyd returns to Sam Schmidt Motorsports and surrounded with good omens.

When Alex Lloyd first joined Sam Schmidt Motorsports for the 2007 season, his wife, Samantha, was pregnant with their first child. Upon returning to the team in May of 2009, Mrs. Lloyd is once again expecting. She is due to give birth in four weeks to their second child. Mr. Lloyd reunites with his race engineer from 2007, Tim Neff, who himself is reuniting with chief engineer, Andy Brown. Neff and Brown worked together at PacWest Racing in the mid-90s. The magic produced in 2007 between Lloyd and Sam Schmidt Motorsports set records in Firestone Indy Lights at the time for most wins in a season [8] and most points scored (652). Everyone is looking to re-produce that magic with a run at the Borg Warner Trophy in May of 2009.

First day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.

Upon completing the Firestone Indy Lights test, the crews of the four Sam Schmidt Motorsports teams put away the small cars, changed into their brand new pink shirts, and went straight to work on the #99 IndyCar for Alex Lloyd. Unfortunately, Lloyd and the crew didn't get the chance to turn nearly as many laps as they had hoped for during Tuesday's running for rookies and those taking refreshers. On his first stint, Lloyd noticed that the steering felt a bit wobbly, and rather than risk the car, he and the team went back to the garage area to give the car a close inspection. Upon returning to the track, the clutch in the #99 car went out. Needless to say, after only running 10 laps, they're looking to return to the track first thing on Wednesday morning and hope to pound out as many laps as possible.

DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES

#99 CHIP GANASSI SAM SCHMIDT RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

Indianapolis 500 makes first IndyCar race of 2009, second overall in career.
Firestone Indy Lights Champion (2007).
First driver to win on both the road course and oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Best lap of 213. 032 mph in 10 laps of practice on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, there wasn't much to report about with our first day on the track. We had a couple of issues to iron out with the car like with the clutch and such. We'll get those things taken care of and look to put in a load of laps on Wednesday."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Sam Schmidt

"May is always a busy month for us, and it's appropriate that day one was one of the busiest days today. In one sense, it's a bit comical to see the guys running back and forth between garages and changing shirts, but on the other hand, the boys had a very long and tough day, and they are to be commended for their efforts. There's been a tremendous effort that has gone on since Kansas, really, and we had no issues with the Firestone Indy Lights cars today. People need to remember that these efforts are Sam Schmidt Motorsports efforts. It's our boys from the Firestone Indy Lights teams that are turning the wrenches on the IndyCar.

"With regards to the IndyCar, I've haven't been this excited in the past five years coming here. We know we have a very competitive effort, and to be teamed with the last two winners of this race is special. To make things even more special, to reunite with Alex is something that excites us all."

Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
On Saturday, May 2nd, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation sponsored the winning hot air balloon in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Centennial Era Balloon Festival. Sam Schmidt himself got to go up in the balloon the very next day. To see video of the event, see the clip on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOiaVNTnV9w

On May 13th, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation will hold its 10th Annual Racing to Recovery Gala. The event at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana, will celebrate the achievements of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation as well as serve as the organization's biggest yearly fundraiser. Tickets (only $125 each), sponsorship packages, and media credentials are available by contacting the foundation's president, Ida Cahill, at (317) 236-0999.

Next Up

Practice resumes on Wednesday at 9 a.m. for the Indianapolis 500. Live timing and streaming video will be available on indycar.com.
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Postby mlittle » Thu May 07, 2009 11:48 am

Image

~~~HER ENERGY PARTNERS WITH SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS AND CHIP GANASSI RACING ON 2009 INDIANAPOLIS 500 ENTRY
Future Star Alex Lloyd to Pilot the No. 99 HER Energy Dallara/ Honda

LOS ANGELES, May 6 -- HER Energy drink announced today a new partnership with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing as the new sponsor of the No. 99 Dallara/Honda driven by Alex Lloyd in the 2009 Indianapolis 500. Lloyd was the fastest rookie on the track at last year's Indianapolis 500, which is fitting, as HER Energy is one of the fastest growing energy drinks on the market.

"HER is honored to be involved with two prestigious racing organizations." said Brett Jacobson, CEO of HER Enterprises Inc. "Both Chip and Sam are pioneers in the world of motorsports and their eye for talent over the past two decades is unprecedented. Alex Lloyd represents the qualities that HER strives to embody and with the support of Chip Ganassi Racing and Sam Schmidt Motorsports he is sure to become one of the next Indy greats."

The pink No. 99 HER Energy car made its debut on the famed oval during rookie/refresher practice on May 5. In addition, HER Energy, which is based in Hollywood, will be bringing a slice of its hometown to race weekend. HER Energy will kick off the big race weekend with a Pink Carpet event to benefit The Indianapolis Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on Friday, May 22. At the invitation-only party, designers will transform a warehouse space into an interactive brand experience for drivers, teams, sponsors and celebrities.

"This is the first time in four years that I think Sam Schmidt Motorsports will have a really competitive entry, and we have HER Energy drink to thank for that support," said Sam Schmidt, owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "Chip Ganassi Racing prepared an incredible car and we're very excited to be running Alex again since we had so much success with him in 2007."

"It's a real pleasure to have HER Energy as our sponsor for the Indy 500. It's an exciting brand and one I am very much looking forward to representing," said Alex Lloyd. "HER Energy has seen massive growth over the last year and I look forward to helping them grow their brand even more. Plus, with having a pink car and firesuit, no one will be able to miss me. I look forward to a great month."

Lloyd won the Firestone Indy Lights title in dominating fashion in 2007, setting series records for victories (8), consecutive victories (5) and top-five finishes (13). His 171-point margin over second place was also the largest in Indy Lights history and his 10 career Indy Lights wins are the most in the seven year history of the series. Lloyd, a native of Manchester, England, participated in his first Indianapolis 500 in 2008 where he started 19th and finished the race in 25th which is his only IndyCar Series start. He also holds the distinction of being the only driver to ever win on both the speedway's road course (Indy Lights, 2006) and oval (Indy Lights, 2007) layouts.

"We are very pleased to not only partner with HER Energy but also with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in order to provide a quality car and team for Alex," said Chip Ganassi Racing Teams President Steve Lauletta. "In HER Energy we get another partner that is excited to be affiliated with the IndyCar Series and that can't wait to roll up their sleeves and begin to activate their sponsorship."
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Postby mlittle » Thu May 07, 2009 11:50 am

DAY TWO OF PRACTICE AT INDIANAPOLIS ANOTHER WASH OUT FOR SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS

INDIANAPOLIS - Practiced resumed on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2009 Indianapolis 500. Unfortunately, weather didn't cooperate as the rains come shortly before lunch and never let up the rest of the day.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing announce HER Energy as sponsor of #99.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, and driver Alex Lloyd took part in a press conference today to make it officially known that HER Energy will sponsor the #99 Dallara Honda for the Indianapolis 500. The pink car, crew shirts, and Lloyd's fire suit have all been drawing much attention from the paddock and fans, and the ladies passing by the team's garage area have enjoyed finding a car to root for.

Alex Lloyd completes 11 more laps in soggy Indianapolis. After turning only 10 laps on Tuesday's opening day for rookies and those taking refresher laps, today's rains didn't allow Lloyd and the HER Energy team to turn many more laps. In fact, only 11 more laps were recorded, and of those, none were at full speed. A patient driver and crew sat in the garage all day until rains finally called the action to a halt for the day.

#99 CHIP GANASSI SAM SCHMIDT RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

Indianapolis 500 makes first IndyCar race of 2009, second overall in career.
Firestone Indy Lights Champion (2007).
First driver to win on both the road course and oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Best lap of 214.51 mph in 11 laps of practice on Wednesday.

On Wednesday running: "With the few laps we did today, of those that were at actual speed of any sort were very limited. It's kind of frustrating, but I guess that's May. This kind of happened last year, although then we had a couple of good days of running in before the rains came. As long as we get a good day in soon, a few hours of solid running really to figure out where we're at and let me get acclimated to things again, I think we'll be fine. Hopefully that comes tomorrow. There's not really much to say other than we got just a few more laps in today. Come tomorrow, hopefully weather permits so we can get out there and see what we've got."

On HER announcement: "It's good to get the HER announcement out. They'll be a fun brand to represent having gotten to know the owner and a few other guys there. We'll have a lot of fun during this month. With the pink fire suit, I'm sure we'll be very recognizable. I'm certain I'll get a bunch of grief about it for the next few weeks until this race is over, but it'll be all worth it to get the brand what they want and the exposure that they're looking for. Perhaps we can see the relationship progress into the future."

On tasks during rain delay: "Other than a little bit of time with the sponsors, who arrived today, I just sat in the motor home and had a nap. There's not much you can do. I watched a little bit of TV, relaxed, and stared at the weather monitor all day watching it seem to get worse and worse trying not to get too disappointed by that."

Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation

On May 13th, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation will hold its 10th Annual Racing to Recovery Gala. The event at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana, will celebrate the achievements of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation as well as serve as the organization's biggest yearly fundraiser. Tickets (only $125 each), sponsorship packages, and media credentials are available by contacting the foundation's president, Ida Cahill, at (317) 236-0999.

Next Up

Practice resumes on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. for the Indianapolis 500. Live timing and streaming video will be available on indycar.com.
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Postby mlittle » Sat May 09, 2009 10:19 am

ALEX LLOYD HAMMERS OUT THE LAPS ON DAY THREE OF PRACTICE AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

INDIANAPOLIS - Finally, after two rainy days limited Alex Lloyd and the #99 HER Energy car to only 21 laps of practice, and none at full speed, the team was able to put in 99 laps on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a best speed turned at the end of the day at 221.221 mph. With a productive day, the team called it quits with just a bit more than an hour left in the day's practice. Practice resumes at noon on Friday.

#99 CHIP GANASSI SAM SCHMIDT RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

* Indianapolis 500 makes first IndyCar race of 2009, second overall in career. Firestone Indy Lights Champion (2007).

* First driver to win on both the road course and oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

* Best lap of 221.221 mph in 99 laps of practice on Thursday.

"It was nice to finally get a full day of track time to get myself back up to speed since it's been about 12 months since I've been in this type of car. I think it was a good day, really. We started off with things very conservative in terms of downforce and gradually peeled it off, and we still had a fair bit of downforce on there at the end. The speeds that we're running with the downforce we have in it is very encouraging. We still need to work on a small imbalance in the car, but once we work that out and peel away more downforce, we should be right there in terms of speed. I think we're all pretty happy with the speed of the car so far. We'll make some slight adjustments for tomorrow, take off some more downforce, and try to go quicker then."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt

"Today was extremely productive. We worked through our entire run plan, and the speed consistently increased. We didn't go backwards, which is a fantastic thing. We know for a fact that if we stuck another set of tires on, we could have done a solid 222 mph lap, which would have been impressive, but frankly, we want to keep working on our plan on Friday and save our tires for qualifying. We were quite pleased with our performance today, and it was a good day to go home early.
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Postby mlittle » Sun May 10, 2009 2:16 am

ALEX LLOYD PRACTICES IN TOP-TEN ON FAST FRIDAY; LOOKS TO QUALIFY ON DAY ONE ON SATURDAY

INDIANAPOLIS - 'Fast Friday' lived up to its name today as several cars showed a strong pace heading into tomorrow's Pole Day Qualifying, and among those looking to make the Top 11 tomorrow includes Chip Ganassi/Sam Schmidt driver Alex Lloyd who practiced 10th overall in the #99 HER Energy car with a best speed of 224.219 mph. With today's focus strictly on qualifying, Lloyd made seven practice runs and totaled only 36 laps among all of those runs.

#99 HER Energy CGR/SSM RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

"We planned on doing short runs today because we're trying to prepare for qualifying. We did a lot of small runs and kept trimming out the downforce getting the car ready for qualifying, and we improved the car a lot balance-wise overnight. I think we're in the window where we're pretty happy. We're pleased with the speed of the car, and I think we can go a little bit quicker if we take off a little more downforce. Obviously, the aim is to try and get qualified tomorrow, and I think we've got a car that's capable of doing that. I'm happy with the balance now, but the wind could pick up tomorrow and change everything in terms of setup. Going into tomorrow though, I'm pretty happy and confident."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt

"This is what we call a fantastic day at the office. Everything went to plan, Alex and the team did a great job, and if we could possibly be in the show tomorrow, that'd be wonderful."
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Postby mlittle » Tue May 12, 2009 12:56 pm

'PINK' LLOYD PUTS 'HER' CAR IN THE SHOW WITH LAST-MINUTE QUALIFING EFFORT AT INDIANAPOLIS

INDIANAPOLIS -- With the closing gun set to go off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the HER Energy CGR/SSM Racing crew sent Alex Lloyd onto the track for his first qualification attempt for this year's Indianapolis 500, and after driving an untested setup and holding the car flat-out for four laps, he snuck his way into the Top 11 fastest of the day with an 11th-place result, making him the last car to qualify today for the May 24th event.

Lloyd and the crew, utilizing a car prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing and maintained by Sam Schmidt Motorsports, achieved a monumental feat as Lloyd hasn't driven in an IndyCar race since May of 2008, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports runs this operation on a part-time, limited basis.

Everyone involved worked meticulously and patiently all day to get the car up to speed after the morning practice session when the car was off the pace. Utilizing track time when available, the team continued to make changes to the car looking to increase its speed.

Late in the day, a radical set of changes were made to the car, and Lloyd turned in a limited number of laps to see how the car felt. Just after 5 p.m., several more changes were made to the car. Lloyd and the team were hoping to test the car once more before making their qualification attempt, but time was quickly running out with a flurry of cars heading into the qualifying line. The team was left with no choice but to put the car in line without testing their new setup.

The timing was just right as they were the second-to-last car to make an attempt, and most importantly, the last car to qualify for the race.

On Sunday, qualifying will take place to determine spots 12 through 22, but for the #99 HER Energy CGR/SSM Racing team, they'll utilize the track time available to run full-fuel stints and prepare for race day. At the end of the day, Sam Schmidt Motorsports will put the IndyCar away and prepare to leave for Milwaukee on Monday for a Firestone Indy Lights test on Tuesday.

Practice on Sunday begins at 10:15 a.m. EST. Qualifying follows at noon with coverage live on VERSUS in HD. When the qualifying line breaks, the track will open for practice, and the HER Energy car will begin testing. All on-track action not shown during the television window can be seen live on indycar.com.

DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES

#99 HER Energy CGR/SSM RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

"It was a tough day. The wind was hard. We went out early in the morning, and the car (balance) just wasn't there. We didn't have the balance or the speed we had Friday. We made some big changes. We put together a completely different car. Just then (qualifying run) was our first run, basically. It felt really good to me. We could have taken more downforce off and picked up more speed. I felt ready even though it was getting quite late before the gun was off. I was ready to go. That was a close one. I really just wanted to get in today. That was my main thing. I want to work on the race from now on. It was a great day for everyone at HER Energy. They're very excited to have their first taste of the Indy 500."
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Postby mlittle » Tue May 12, 2009 12:57 pm

'PINK' LLOYD AND CGR/SSM SPEND DAY TWO OF QUALIFYING MAKING 'HER' CAR READY FOR RACE DAY

INDIANAPOLIS - On Sunday, all but 11 drivers and teams spent the day working feverishly to try and get their car qualified and into the field for the Indianapolis 500.

Luckily, Alex Lloyd and the #99 HER Energy CGR/SSM Racing team was one of the 11 that did not have to concern themselves with that stress, thanks to Saturday's last-minute qualifying run that placed them 11th in the starting field.

The team spent today working on race preparation. Over the course of 33 laps, Lloyd turned in a best lap speed of 218.957 mph while running on a full tank of fuel. Then, the team packed away its car and equipment and watched other teams sweat their way through the last couple of hours of qualifying.

Track activity at Indianapolis will be silent until Thursday, when practice resumes. Meanwhile, Sam Schmidt Motorsports is headed to Milwaukee to test its four Firestone Indy Lights drivers on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the team will celebrate the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation's 10th Anniversary "Racing to Recovery" Gala.

#99 HER Energy CGR/SSM RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

Qualified in the 11th spot on Pole Day with an average speed of 222.622 mph. QIndianapolis 500 makes first IndyCar race of 2009, second overall in career. QFirestone Indy Lights Champion (2007). QFirst driver to win on both the road course and oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Today, I felt much more relaxed, especially this morning. I was sitting in my bed in the motor home watching the morning practice on TV, and I saw some guys having some accidents and some trouble out there. It was definitely a nice feeling to have gotten everything done and out of the way yesterday. It's good to be in the field and watch everyone else go through the stress that we went through. It's a long and stressful day as it is, and to have to do it two days in a row, it's not the best. So yeah, it was a nice day as well to do some race running that a lot of these guys won't get to have because they're still worrying about qualifying. That in itself is invaluable. For us, it was a nice, quiet, relaxed day, and we've got some information to take with us as we enjoy the next few days off. We'll come back on Thursday even more prepared."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt
"It was nice to spend today working on race setups and not worrying about still trying to get into this race. We've experienced both ends of that spectrum, and the end we're currently on is much nicer to be in. Our guys have continued to work hard, and they still have a busy few days ahead of them with having to leave for Milwaukee tomorrow for Tuesday's test. It's a blessing that things have gone our way so far, and hopefully, they continue to do so."

Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
On May 13th, the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation will hold its 10th Annual Racing to Recovery Gala. The event at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana, will celebrate the achievements of the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation as well as serve as the organization's biggest yearly fundraiser. Tickets (only $125 each), sponsorship packages, and media credentials are available by contacting the foundation's president, Ida Cahill, at (317) 236-0999.
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Postby mlittle » Mon May 18, 2009 1:12 am

LAST FULL DAY OF PRACTICE GIVES PINK LLOYD MANY LAPS IN RACE PREPARATION

INDIANAPOLIS - Friday was the last full day of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the #99 HER Energy CGR/SSM Racing team made the most of it by turning 81 laps with a best average lap speed of 219.336 mph.

Saturday's running will revolve around Day 3 of qualifying, though when no one is in line to qualify, the track will open up for all competitors to practice. Alex Lloyd and the crew will look to continue race simulations then.

When track activity resumes on Saturday, live video will be available on indycar.com and indy500.com while TV is off-air. VERSUS HD will broadcast live between noon and 6:30 p.m. EST. Official updates from the team can be found throughout the day on its Twitter page, http://www.twitter.com/ssm99.

DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES

#99 HER Energy CGR/SSM RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

Qualified in the 11th spot on Pole Day with an average speed of 222.622 mph. Indianapolis 500 makes first IndyCar race of 2009, second overall in career. Firestone Indy Lights Champion (2007). First driver to win on both the road course and oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"We were pretty good for most of the day. I felt like the balance was somewhat there, and we were just kind of fine-tuning it, really. We were looking for traffic, which we didn't find too much of at the beginning of the day, but at the end, we just lost the balance. So, we're just trying to evaluate where that went. We'll come back tomorrow with a couple of options to try and improve it. We got plenty of miles in today, but we've still got some more miles that we can do over the next couple of days. We'll be fine."
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Postby mlittle » Tue May 19, 2009 9:32 am

PINK LLOYD AND HER TEAM TURN MANY PRACTICE LAPS AMID BUMP DAY DRAMA

INDIANAPOLIS - After not running any laps on Saturday, the #99 HER Energy CGR/SSM Racing team with driver Alex Lloyd spent the majority of Sunday afternoon in final race preparations. In total, the team turned in 109 laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a best lap speed of 221.710 mph.

Saturday afforded limited track time, and even then, conditions weren't conducive to getting accurate reads in fine-tuning the car. The team arrived at the track Sunday ready for a busy day, and between the hours of one and five this afternoon, the pink HER car and crew never left their spot in pit lane, and Lloyd turned in more than 250 miles of testing.

From here, only a one-hour practice session remains which will take place on Carb Day, Friday, before the race itself on Sunday. Lloyd will spend the next few days with a hectic publicity schedule, including flying with the other 32 qualified drivers of the Indianapolis 500 to New York on Monday morning for a photo shoot and media day.

When track activity resumes on Friday, VERSUS HD will broadcast live between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST. Official updates from the team can be found throughout the day on its Twitter page, http://www.twitter.com/ssm99.

#99 HER Energy CGR/SSM RACING Honda Dallara Driver Alex Lloyd

Qualified in the 11th spot on Pole Day with an average speed of 222.622 mph. Indianapolis 500 makes first IndyCar race of 2009, second overall in career. Firestone Indy Lights Champion (2007).

First driver to win on both the road course and oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"After yesterday and not running because of the wind, we had quite a few sets of tires to get through today. There was quite a bit we were trying to accomplish. Mainly running in more traffic because we've run in some traffic, but we haven't run a great deal in it. Also, we were focusing on long runs. We wanted to see what the tires would do at the end of each run. We started off with a good car out of the box today, which is good. We tweaked on it a bit and made it a bit better, but we've been happy all day with our race car. It's been, it's been good in traffic. We've just been making small adjustments to finalize a few things for race day, but we come away pretty happy and confident for next weekend."
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